Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson tore the roof off this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival with Summer of Soul, his rollicking documentary about the incredible music on display during the nearly-forgotten Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. That film won the Audience Award and the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the festival earlier this month, and now Thompson has announced he’s returning behind the camera to make a feature documentary about Sly Stone, founding member of the influential band Sly and the Family Stone and one of the musicians who appeared on stage in the archival footage in Summer of Soul.
Learn more about his Sly Stone documentary below.
Four-time Grammy winner Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has found his next directing gig in the form of an Untitled Sly Stone project. According to a press release, “the untitled documentary follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations.”
Questlove is working with MRC Non-Fiction, a new branch of Media Rights Capital that is specifically financing, developing, and producing feature documentaries and docuseries, to bring this movie to life. MRC Non-Fiction’s first film also has a Sundance connection – their debut project is Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers, Wright’s first feature documentary that also earned rave reviews at this year’s festival.
“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA,” Questlove said in a statement. “It’s a Black musician’s blueprint….to be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”
“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” said Amit Dey, Head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.”
Sly and the Family Stone gave what felt like one of the central performances on stage during Summer of Soul, so it’s clear Questlove has a respect and passion for the man and the music he helped to create. Summer of Soul was picked up by Searchlight Pictures and will be available in theaters and on Hulu at some point this year.
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